Thiel Holds On To Defeat W&J At Henry Center 68-64
WASHINGTON, Pa. – Blair Rozenblad, the 2010-11 Presidents’ Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Year, scored 20 points, including a pair of free throws with nine seconds remaining to help Thiel College hold off Washington & Jefferson College 68-64 Wednesday evening at the Henry Memorial Center.
W&J (6-12, 2-7 PAC) trailed 66-64 in the final minute, but a potential game-tying shot with 12 seconds left fell off the rim. Freshman forward Mitch Locher (Pittsburgh, Pa./Avonworth) fueled the Presidents’ late rally with a pair of three-pointers in the final 2:30.
The Tomcats (13-4, 10-0 PAC), who have won 16 consecutive conference games dating back to last season, jumped out to a 17-7 lead behind 12 points from Chace McKinney.
W&J fought back to close to within 23-22 with 5:38 left in the half after a bucket from senior guard Uchenna Okocha (Cleveland Heights, Ohio/University School), but a pair of Devon Adams’ triples in the final two minutes gave the Tomcats a 39-31 halftime lead.
Thiel appeared to seize control of the game midway through the second half when Austin Forbes’ jumper at the 10:38 mark made it a 56-42 game. However, W&J continued to chip away behind three-point shooting from Locher, junior guard Zach Bellhy (McDonald, Pa./Fort Cherry) and freshman guard Andy Carter (North Huntingdon, Pa./Norwin) before falling just short.
Rozenblad made 7-of-11 shots from the field and added a game-high 13 rebounds. McKinney finished with 14 points and four boards, while Adams supplied 11 points, seven assists and five rebounds. Thiel shot 45 percent overall (26-of-58) and out-rebounded W&J by a 41-26 margin.
Bellhy collected team-high totals of 20 points (7-of-15 shooting; 4-of-7 three-pointers) and six rebounds. Carter also made 7-of-15 shots and finished with 15 points, while Okocha added six points and five assists. W&J shot 43 percent (26-of-60) and committed only six turnovers.
W&J hopes to get back into the win column on Saturday when hosting Thomas More at 4:00 pm. The Saints nipped the Presidents in Kentucky 67-66 on Dec. 7 on a 30-foot three-pointer at the buzzer.